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How do you know when the time is right?

(37 Posts)
falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 17:35:39

Warning much rambling contained within.

I've been thinking about this for some time and while I realise not all children are planned, when do you know that it's the right time to have a child?

I'm 24 now, currently in college and hoping to go to University next year to study for a PHD in forensic science.

I currently am sans children and I'd always thought of myself as becoming a mother by the time I was 26, at least I did until now.

I have fertility issues, and now I'm wondering if I should try to conceive/adopt now in my 20's when fertility is at it's peak, though how I'd cope with having a child and University I've no idea.

I've always had certain ideals in my mind for my future child., I want to be married, to have a good income and to send my child to a private school.

I don't want to give up on my education though, or risk doing so, and while I'd prefer to have a child before I'm 30 if I wait I could lessen my chances of conceiving if I do so.

Which would you do? Conceive now or soon while going through education and compromise on my ideals, which are actually pretty important to me, or wait until you finish your education increasing the risk that you won't be able to conceive?

Acinonyx Tue 21-Oct-08 17:53:14

You say you have fertility issues - have you asked for medical advice regarding the impact of age on these issues and possible treatment?

I do know single mothers who have done PhDs but none of them planned it that way. I had a baby during my PhD, but I'm older and married to a very supportive dh - much, much easier than being single (or married to an unsupportive dh) I'm sure (I get the impression you are single, right?). Perhaps you should start your PhD and give it a year at least to get a better idea of how you would cope.

Fizzylemonade Tue 21-Oct-08 17:54:48

Are you married? It's just that is one of the things you said you wanted so I wonder how close you are to even starting thinking about children.

I too had ideals of what I thought my life would be, I didn't know I had fertility issues until after I was married. We were living a great life, holidays, carefree weekends and evenings and bam next thing I know I am seeing a consultant!

I was told by the consultant who had just operated on me that if I wanted a baby I needed to try for one that day! It wasn't how we had planned it but being told I may end up needing IVF if I left it meant we re-thought our priorities. I was lucky and 2 weeks later I was pregnant but this is rare.

I was 28, in a happy, stable marriage and the thought of a baby still scared the hell out of me. I have no regrets.

You can never guarantee your fertility and I was told that because I have endometriosis that after 30 I would be seen as "old" to try to conceive with that condition.

I think you would have to ask yourself which would devastate you more, no children or no career. Children sometimes aren't perfect health wise and you may find that you don't want to return to work after having your babies or not full time, or find something that fits in around your children.

I never thought I would be a sahm grin

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 18:01:06

I'm pretty sure I would want to return to work, after a year or so, though of course that could change when/if I have actually have a child.

I'm not married at the moment, in a relationship though. Being able to send my children to private school is one of my top priorities, perhaps even more so than being married.
I myself didn't go to a private school and I don't think I suffered for it, but for some reason it's quite important to me that my children, at least have the option of doing so.

Acinonyx Tue 21-Oct-08 18:09:10

Well you are going into a good field but there are other issues to consider re earnings. Sending one child to private school is probably doable on one good income (much like private nursery fees) but you'd have to be spectacularly well-paid to afford to send two. You should allow at least 4 years for a PhD without kids - and probably more if kids are included. So you are unlikely to be earning a huge amount by the time the oldes was starting school. Would private secondary school suffice?

If I wanted dd to go to private school I would have to start full-time work now - but I'm still finishing my PhD and it could take a year or two to sort out jobs. That's fine with me though.

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 18:24:28

I'd prefer my child to be in private school from the very start ideally.

I could be content with one child and I'm hoping that if I can get a good job in my chosen field(forensic or enviromental toxicology) that the salary will be enough to send one child to a private school as you say.

In an ideal situation my partner(who is studying biomedical science) would also be earning enough once we've both finished to allow us the option of having more than one child and sending all of them to private school.

It's quite ridiculous I know but I'd prefer to have only one child and send them to private school than to have more than one and be forced to compromise on our idealised lifestyle.blush

KatieDD Tue 21-Oct-08 18:40:37

PMSL, at your age I too wanted my child to go to private school and indeed sent it for 2 years.
Luckily I came to my senses fairly quickly and realised that looking back siblings and a family were far, far more important and promtly got married and had two more babies.
If you want to make god laugh tell her your plans as the old saying goes.
Personally I believe being in a good stable relationship and providing a good loving home is far far more important and if you haven't been to private school yourself you might be in for a shock as to what they are like.

PortAndDemon Tue 21-Oct-08 18:40:55

It depends on what your fertility issues are. Can you talk to a specialist about the likely efects of waiting a few years?

I always thought I wanted to have all my children before I was 30. In the end I had DS at 32 and DD at 35, more or less through choice (took about a year to conceive DS and 6 months to conceive DD).

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 18:51:23

I do think there are more important things than going to private school, a stable relationship is even more important to me than that but an excellent education is still extremely important to me.

I know there are a great many wonderful state schools and many terrible private schools but the smaller class sizes and wide range of subjects and activities particuarly appeals to me.

I'm an only child myself and I loved being one so I'd be perfectly content to have only one child, though I would like us to have a salary available which would be enough to send two children to private school, should one arrive unexpectedly or plans change.

I'm currently seeing my dr to discuss these matters, though I think I would in time be content to adopt but I would like to at least try for a bio child.

BlueberryPancake Tue 21-Oct-08 19:11:49

Falcon, please get a grip. Your decision to have a child or not- and when to have a child- is based on wether or not you can send him/her to a private school? Please put things into perspective. Parenthood is something to be taken seriously, and education is important for everyone, PhD educated or not. But I have never spoken to/met/encountered anyone who would say 'well if I can't send my child to that school I would prefer not to have a child.' It doesn't make any sense to me. I think that your priorities are in the wrong order.

You don't want to be forced to compromise on our idealised lifestyle? What will you do if your child doesn't behave like you want him to? What if he wees in his pants in a restaurant at 5 years old? What if he's not very clever? Give me a break, Falcon.

I simply cannot understand that you would put a private education above bringing up your child in a stable family. Your views are beyond me. Actually I'm quite cross now so I'll go give mylovely non phd husband a big hug and give my two gorgeous sons (who will go to a state school) a huge kiss. Good luck.

Acinonyx Tue 21-Oct-08 19:14:35

Another thing to consider if you have a baby/prechoooler during a PhD. There is very little help with childcare fees compared to being an undergrad. Being married, I get none which means my grant is taken up with nursery fees and I wouldn't be able to manage without dh's financial help. You should discuss this with your partner. Something to look into - because you DO need some childcare if you do both.

But with reasonable support it is quite feasable to do both at the same time (some manage with little support and some don't manage whatever the support - hard to say until you try it!).

As they say, 'life is what happens while you are making other plans' - but OTOH it doesn't hurt to have a plan.

MurderousMarla Tue 21-Oct-08 19:14:44

<applauds the pancake>

Acinonyx Tue 21-Oct-08 19:19:21

I see pancake's point, but these kinds of plans/views are quite typical before someone actually has dc I think.

PortAndDemon Tue 21-Oct-08 19:21:27

And falcon didn't say that she would put a private education above bringing up her child in a stable family... in fact, she said just the opposite.

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 19:30:08

TY PortandDemon. A stable family is my no 1 priority, marriage would be my ideal but one can have a stable marriage without making it official and it's that I'm willing to compromise on, not on a stable family.

The best school in the world is of little use if one has a wreck of a family to return home to at the end of the day.

And my decision whether or not to have a child doesn't rest on being able to provide private schooling, only the timing of it. I'd like to have that option available to us.

I'm not criticising anyone who sends their child to a state school, I went to one after all,a faith school and it was a good school. It's just a personal preference that;s all and is it really such a bad thing to have certain goals for one's child and career in mind?

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 19:30:58

A stable relationship without getting married, not a stable marriage without getting married.blush

My fingers are moving faster than my brain today.

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 19:35:04

Oh and I don't care if he isn't clever or wees his/her pants in a restaurant at 5 years old that's what kids do privately educated or not.

I don't recall saying I had a particular type of child in mind, only an ideal lifestyle, only to have the option of private schooling, or the option of other things I'd like them to have.
I've no wish to force them to conform to my ideals but I would like certain options to be there for them should they wish to take advantage of them or not.

KatieDD Tue 21-Oct-08 20:14:56

Well for god sake don't forget to tell the child what your ideal lifestyle is fairly early on because if they don't know they have a nasty habit of letting you down kids hmm.
Certain goals for one's child ? You can have them but don't be surprised if they throw them back at you.
With respect from somebody who has had a child in the private system, if you didn't go and your husband didn't go, it will get held against you unless you have shit loads of money, even if your kid is 100 times brighter than his/her class mates.
If you are Gary Barlow's wife and you and your children a bit dim fine, if you are "normal" and have a PHD not fine, that was my experience.
Plus having met a few products of private education, i'd rather set fire to £150k

nowwearefour Tue 21-Oct-08 20:21:13

if you and your partner agree that now might be a good time to start trying, why not give it a go?if it happens you'll be blessed with a dc and if not, you still have some time? would you rather look back age 90 and regret that you didnt hav ethe money to send them privately if it happened straight away or regret that you ended up childless as you didnt start early enough? just go for it and it will work itself out i am sure

BlueberryPancake Tue 21-Oct-08 20:35:12

I can understand if someone says 'I want my own home before having kids', or 'I want to finish my degree/studies/phd etc' or even 'I want to travel' before having kids. It's all to do with one's own priorities in life. THis private education thing is just ridiculous.

If I was in your shoes, falcon, I'd go for it now, not because anything you say make sense (especially the lifetyle rubbish - it sounds to me that you want a lifestyle, not a child) but because of the fertility issues. I have three girlfriends who are trying for second babies and cannot get pregnant, and are all getting close to 40. I can see how hard it is for them and I don't wish that to anyone.

MrsMattie Tue 21-Oct-08 20:39:18

Not sure your ideas about motherhoood are realistic, to be honest@falcon.

How will you afford this lifestyle if you haven't got a job? Is your partner very well off? What does he think?

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 21:12:29

The lifestyle is merely an ideal when we both finish our phds and acquire a job and yes it is a child I want, I'd just like them to have various options available to them, they don't have to take them if they don't want to, but if they have the option of certain opportunities I'll be happy, is that so hard to understand?hmm

I've no ideal child in mind, a lifestyle to me is simply having my preferred options available.

I don't appreciate being accused of wanting to have the perfect child. My parents certainly didn't get what they expected with me. They haven't made me feel bad about it really but I do know I wasn't what was expected.

I'm dyspraxic for a start, they didn't expect that when they were envisioning their child, or the hip dysplasia they had to deal with for 3 years. My mother was hoping for a daughter who was a 'girly gir' instead she got a real tomboy who would rather go bug hunting or read than go out playing with my friends.

I don't care if I have a child with special needs or a child who is the complete opposite of me.
Of course it'd be nice if they loved science too but what I eally want for them is that they love themselves, appreciate themselves as an individual and are comfortable with that and don't always feel the need to follow the crowd.
Or pretend to like the things I'm interested in because they think that's what will make me happy. I want them to accept themselves as they are, I'm still working my way through that process.

If they want to go to the local comprehensive that's fine I'd just prefer to know that they were able to go to the private school if they wished.

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 21:14:55

And I don't care what other parents think of me, I really don't care if they look down on us or not.

I've no wish to send them to keep up with the Jones's as people say, only to have as many doors open for them as possible that's all.

MrsMattie Tue 21-Oct-08 21:25:29

That's understandable. So what are you asking, then?

If your main concern, at the bottom of it all, is your fertility, well then yes, I can see your point and would advise you to get it all checked out and go from there.

But if you are going to do it sooner rather than later, regardless of your circumstances (which is fine...plenty of people do) you may have to get realistic about what you'll be able to afford.

falcon Tue 21-Oct-08 21:30:51

I suppose my main point is should I risk my fertility by waiting to finish my PHD? or should I risk not being able to continue my education by having a child now.? I'm just trying to decide which is the better option.

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